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How to start a Hairstyling Career in the United States


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Starting a hairstyling career in the United States requires different processes, but first I will be briefing you on the basics of the profession. The general work of a hairstylist is to offer hair services of different levels to their customers, they cut, color, wash, and style people’s hair. There are other hair services depending on what the customer needs.

Just like fashion design, hairstyling is a basic service generally needed in every part of the world, most especially in the United States. In this article, I would be putting you through the process of starting a hairstyling career in the United States.

How to start a hairstyling career in the United States

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Get your GED

To start a hairstyling profession, you must first acquire GED or a diploma. You are to make sure you are either a high school graduate or you have an educational degree. You need this to apply for any cosmetology school or program, even if you would be provided state or federal financial aid.

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Enrol in a state-approved hairstyling program

Understand that to start a hairstyling career in the United States you need to enrol in a hair styling school. This would help you become a licensed hairstylist. Due to the different preferences or requirements in the state, you are required to check the needs of the state you wish to become a hairstylist in.

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Complete your hands-on training hours

In the course of enrolling in a hairstyling program, you will be required to learn a lot of hair designs and styles through learning and practice. The perfect way to get a hold of your hairstyling career in the United States is to make observations and hands-on practices by watching relative videos and reading. This will also help you get hold of your skills and techniques to be a professional hairstylist.

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Pass your state licensure exams

After the commencement of your hairstyling program, to lead a successful hairstyling career in the United States, you will be required to write a state-administered hair stylist exam. Which will determine the launch of your hairstyling career.

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Find a job

A larger number of hairstylists are often employed in salons, other job opportunities include resorts, nursing care facilities, and spas. As stated by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most hair stylists are often self-employed as they rent a space or chair at an already-founded salon.

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Seek professional certification

You can further your training as a professional in speciality areas like hair color, hairstyles, hair extensions, hair art, etc. This is to demonstrate your knowledge and capacity in this area. Certificates can come from professional organizations or hair product manufacturers.

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Career advancement in professional hairstyling

To advance your hairstyling career in the United States, you are required to start at the entry level, improve by attending to more clients and complete the tasks given to you in the salon. You can thus advance your career by getting promoted to a salon manager or even opening your personal hair salon. You can even advance to teaching cosmetology or become sales representative for beauty-related products.

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Requirement for Enrolling in a Hairstyling school

Below are the general requirements to enrol in a hairstyling school in the United States

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Meeting the minimum age requirements for your program

For every hairstyling program, you are needed to meet a specific age bracket to start your career. The minimum age requirement generally ranges from 16 and 18 depending on the state.

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Earn your high school diploma or GED

Getting a degree is an important step, as said earlier you are expected to own a high school degree or a comparable degree. However, for younger individuals to enrol, you might be asked to complete your 10th grade.

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Plan to live in the state you’re schooled

You are to be a resident of the state you decide to start your hairstyling career. This isn’t a must-have requirement, but it is needed to acquire a licence. If you would like to start a hairstyling career in the United States, you have to enrol in the state you decide to leave in. You should also make the proper research on licensure reciprocity agreements between states before you commence your schooling.

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Visit your intended school

It is essential to check out the environment of your intended hairstyling school before you enrol. You are also allowed to speak to the representatives of the school before you start. While this process isn’t compulsory in all schools, it is in some.

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Submit an admission application

Every school has a different admission application. You would be expected to fill in a form during your enrolment process. You are to provide the needed information in this form, these could include:

  • A government ID
  • Social security number
  • Official high school transcript or other proof of education.

You might also be required to:

  • Write an essay
  • Take a basic competency exam
  • A headshot
  • Pass a background check

All this depends on the school you decide to enrol in.

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Speak with a financial aid officer

Hairstyling schools would want to make sure their students are able to keep up with their fees. It is therefore important to meet with a financial advisor to get your finances sorted before you start your hairstyling career in the United States.

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How long it takes to complete a Hair styling program

Generally, a hairstyling school takes about 12 to 24 months to be completed, but some programs end within 6 months. You should make sure your intended hairstyling school has been approved by the licensing board of your state and that the program result is on the same path as your goals

In the process of your hairstyling career in the United States, you will be required to spend about 1500 to 2000 hours in your program. Also, it is advisable to enrol in full-time schooling, as you will likely end your program faster than enrolling in a part-time program, however, this depends on your schedule and availability.

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Cost of a Hairstyling school

As stated by the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, enrolling in a hairstyling school cost about $10,000. Aside from the tuition, you are also required to pay certain fees for supplies like hair kits, textbooks, and others

With the additional cost and payment, your total fee could be ranging from around $10,000 to $20,000. You can also be able to offset some of these payments through financial aid, which may be offered to you through your school, government, or beauty industry professional associations.

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Mass Communication Student, Federal University, Oye Ekiti and Content Creation Specialist. Join me on Twitter.

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